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Transgender people force debate on bathroom use

BY CRISTINA SILVA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHOENIX -- Arizona lawmakers want to prohibit anyone not associated with their birth gender from using public restrooms, showers and dressing rooms in the nation's latest tussle over equal rights for transgender people.

The proposal comes less than a month after the city of Phoenix passed a human rights ordinance prohibiting gender identity discrimination in public accommodations.

That measure and the proposed Arizona law represent opposite sides of a growing national debate over equal access to public restrooms for transgender people.

In Arizona, Republican Rep. John Kavanagh wants to make it a misdemeanor for a person to use a public facility associated with a gender other than what's on his or her birth certificate.

National transgender advocates say Arizona's proposed law would be the toughest standard in the nation if it passes.

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